Officials said that Vellore district had a total of 109 storage points, including three walk-in freezers, two with the TN medicinal services corporation and one with the regional vaccine storage centre, one ILR (Ice Lined Refrigerator) each at four government hospitals, 6 upgraded PHCs, 27 additional PHCs and 13 urban PHCs, according to Vellore Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram.
Also on hand were 52 DFs (deep freezer), including 2 each with the regional and district vaccine storage centres, 4 in government hospitals, 6 with the upgraded PHCs, 25 with the additional PHCs and another 12 with upgraded PHCs. “These were more than enough to meet and handle all stock of COVID-19 vaccine,” Shanmuga Sundaram told DT Next.
Meanwhile, officials have already approached top health officials in Chennai seeking additional ILRs on the basis of one for each of the 20 blocks in integrated Vellore district. “Given the seriousness of the situation, we expect to get the ILRs at the earliest,” a senior health official revealed.
While officials said there were yet to receive word on when exactly the vaccine would reach them, they said the newly formed Ranipet and Tirupattur districts would also rely on the Vellore district cold chain as they were yet to get such facilities.
Asked whether the PHCs had facilities to stock sizeable quantities of vaccine, officials said, “We already have stocks of other vaccines for which the ILRs are used. As we expect to vaccinate sizeable numbers of the public later, we have sought additional resources which will be enough to meet all the needs of integrated Vellore district.”
Meanwhile, the CMC Hospital also plans to stock the vaccine as local and out of town residents in the high income bracket prefer to be vaccinated at CMC instead of a government facility. Hospital sources revealed that the administration was in the process of charting out a policy for coronavirus vaccine storage and use. Whether the hospitals’ cold storage facilities were enough to handle the anticipated additional load was also under discussion.